As Ohio State launches its investigation into how Urban Meyer handled claims of domestic violence made against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, Buckeyes fans are taking to the streets to show their support for their embattled head coach.
On Monday evening, a portion of Ohio State faithful plan held a rally at Ohio Stadium to back Meyer, who is currently on a paid leave of absence. The rally was planned by Buckeyes fan Jeff Hams -- otherwise known as "Tennessee Jeff" -- who announced the event on his Facebook page.
"THE friendly rally to show support for head coach Urban Meyer will meet right here Monday at 6 p.m. at the North rotundra [sic] at Ohio stadium. That is the north entrance of the stadium," Hamms wrote on Saturday. "Please tell everyone. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your enemies. Lots of signs also to show support. News media will be there, so please make your signs appropriate. Thank you everyone for your support for our football team and head coach Urban Meyer."
Last week, Ohio State announced Meyer would be placed on leave as the school investigated his handling of claims of domestic violence made against Smith by his ex-wife. After Meyer stated at Big Ten media day that he was unaware of a 2015 incident in which Courtney Smith alleged Zach Smith shoved her against a wall with his hands around her neck, a report from Brett McMurphy showed text messages between Courtney and wives of other OSU staffers -- including Meyer's wife, Shelley -- which seemed to indicate otherwise.
Two days after being placed on paid leave, Meyer released a statement admitting to having been aware of the 2015 accusations and saying that he properly reported them up the chain of command.
Whether or not Meyer properly handled the situation will be determined in the coming weeks by an independent panel. But at the very least, it's clear he has support from a large portion of Ohio State fans, with a petition to 'Save Urban Meyer' having already garnered more than 24,000 signatures.